Saturday, April 29, 2006

Recipe Index

Beverages, Appetizers, Breakfast Foods, and Snacks:
Apple Granola Muffins
Romesco Sauce
Whole Wheat Scones
Great Granola
Molasses Oat Banana Bread (Chemically Sensitive Version
Apple Muffins
Pina Colada Muffins
Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Pecan Muffins
Classic Hummus
Gallo Pinto
Banana Cranberry Muffins
Banana Pecan Scones with Cinnamon Glaze
Berry Banana Smoothie
Foofy Citrus Cocktail
Chocolate-Covered Cherry Martini
Berry Breakfast Yogurt
Roasted Red Pepper Baba Ghanosh

Soups, Salads, Sides, and Breads:
Spicy Cheese Rolls
Rosemary-Cornmeal Bread
Easy, Lightened Fried Rice
Blue Cheese Dressing
Crock Pot Split Pea Soup
Cabbage Soup
Fiesta Rice
Simple Soup Blueprint
Creamy Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Cabbage Leek Soup
Whatever's in the Fridge Pasta Salad
Camping Potatoes
Cauliflower Leek Soup
Super-Easy Tofu-Pea Soup
Bean and Barley Soup
Alphabet Soup
Quick and Easy Potato-Leek Soup
Vegetable Stock

Main Dishes:
Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie
Roasted Vegetable Pasta
Crockpot Peanut Stew
Summer Squash Pasta
Pasta Con Pomodori e Funghi
Tofu Asada
Grilled Tofu and Veggies
Marinara Sauce
Sesame Noodles With Broccoli
Bean and Cheese Enchiladas
Light (But Not Too Light) Fettucine Alfredo With Roasted Vegetables
Butternut Squash Tortellini with Mushrooms and Pine Nuts
Mushroom Pot Pie
Quick Chickpea-Spinach Curry
Mushroom Lovers Pizzer
Penne Alla Vodka
Capellini With Asparagus, Mushrooms, and Lemon
Vodka Tomato-Cream Sauce
So Many Veggies Pizza
Pasta with Mushrooms and Goat Cheese
Roasted Chile-Jack Cheese Tamales
Penne with Pesto, Mushrooms, and Roasted Red Peppers
Pasta Geronimo
Black Bean and Corn Enchiladas
Curry Couscous
Mushroom Sauce Variations

Hedonistic Fudgies
Triple Almond Brownies
Pear Goat Cheese Tartlets
Cinnamon Stick Ice Cream
Mini Cheesecakes
Coffee-Heath Bar Crunch Ice Cream
Coconut Ice Cream
Black and White Cookies
My Super Fudge Chunk Ice Cream
Cookies and Cream Ice Cream
Rice Pudding My Way
Cheater's Non-Dairy Baklava
Chocolate Cherry Layer Cake
Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream
Mint Chip Ice Cream
Fudgy Walnut Brownies

2006 Finished Knitting Projects

French press cozy

Hourglass Sweater
Somewhat Cowl
Marie Louise's Lace Sweater
Tempting II
Belle Epoque
Leo Sweater

Wraps, Shawls, and Scarves
Branching Out
Sister Scarf
Airy Scarf
Lacy V Scarf
Opera Scarf
Candle Flame Shawl
Heavenly Stole
Hint of Spring Scarf
Opera Scarf

Felted Bracelet Bags
Farmer's Market Bag

Baby Stuff
Garter Stitch Baby Blanket
Picot Dress
Dainty Bootees
Argyle Cardigan
Child's Placket Pullover
Baby Bunny Hat
Angora Baby Booties, again
Simple Top With Contrast Stripe
Baby Beluga Bolero
Lacy Bonnet
Angora Baby Booties
Child's Placket Pullover
Pinwheel Baby Blanket
Heirloom Silk Shawl

Socks and Hats
Manly Hat
Snow Queen Hat

Still Life With Sock

Never fear, this blog will not turn into an art photography site, but I rather like this piece, which features an inch of sock, a broken size 1 dpn, and a sleeping cat. So, I'm knitting along on my first Jaywalker, and on my very first double decrease, I break the tip of my Brittany Birch dpn. Argh. I have another set of dpns, but they're longer, 7" Clovers. We'll see how that goes. So far, the sock knitting is fine, and is an excellent distraction from checking for mumps symptoms. I have not become seized with the urge to take the sock places and document its travels. I have not started waxing lyrical about the virtues of sock knitting. I am still dubious about the whole process. I will continue to document my progress, so please watch for signs of Sock Knitting Psychosis. I do seem to suffer from mild Sock Yarn Obsessive Disorder, however, but they make sock yarn in such great colors, who can resist drooling over yarn websites? And sock knitting does inspire Jerry Seinfeld-like stand-up comedy in my head. "So, what's the deal with knitting socks? Talk about your tiny needles! But seriously, sock knitters always have the cleanest teeth, folks--they carry around their own set of toothpicks!" Ahem. So, anyway....

Reading: Back to fluffy reading. The pollen here has reached ridiculous levels, which does not make my brain eager to process complex plots and character development. I did just order History of Love, the book for my next book club.

Writing: Same place, different day. My deadline for Chapter 5 is next Friday. Hear that, Tim? Seriously, I have to get moving on this. I have two literary novels and three children's books in line. Not to mention three sequels to the murder mystery.

Cooking: I made a rather nice Vodka-Tomato-Cream Sauce for pasta last night. My husband loves the full-cream version; my diet prefers my mock version with low-fat ricotta cheese. This was a good compromise, with a bit of cream added to the ricotta. It gives it a nice depth and smoothness without adding frightening amounts of saturated fat. I usually make it with crushed tomatoes, but I only had two cans of tomato sauce and one of diced tomatoes, and that worked just fine. The crushed red pepper adds a bit of heat. You could also use pepper-flavored vodka.

Vodka-Tomato-Cream Sauce (Non-Artery-Blocker Version)

1 TBL olive oil
1 small onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 cup of vodka (or so...I sort of glug it in without really measuring)
1/2 tsp to 1 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 cans tomato sauce plus 1 can diced tomatoes (or 1 large can crushed tomatoes)
1 cup low-fat ricotta cheese
salt and black pepper to taste

In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; cook until onion is translucent, about 7 minutes. Add vodka, crushed red pepper, oregano, and basil. Reduce heat; simmer 5 minutes. Add cream. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes. Add tomato products and ricotta; stir until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Simmer, covered, 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Toss with one pound penne or capellini. Serve topped with grated asiago or parmesan cheese and chopped fresh basil. Serves 8.

Friday, April 28, 2006

At last!

There it is, the Heavenly Stole! I am so delighted to be done with it, though I do like the finished project. The pattern is in Exquisite Little Knits, a very nice little book. It took two balls of Rowan Kid Silk Haze in Heavenly. I wasn't wild about actually knitting this--I didn't like the KSH much, and I had to pay more attention than I wanted to the knitting, yet it was a fairly boring pattern. I knit a shawl last year in Lorna's Laces Heavenly, which is similar to the KSH, and I don't remember it being this bad. It could be that it was just a more interesting pattern (the Meadow Flowers Shawl from Knitter's Stash), and I like my knitting to be either interesting or mindless enough that I can devote most of my attention elsewhere. But the finished stole is awfully nice. It's a Mother's Day gift, done in plenty of time! That brings my active WIP list to two...that can't be right. I'll have to start Kitty Pi or get serious about the Indian Summer Shawl. Or cast on for one of the dozen or so things on my waiting list :-)

Reading: Death of a Gossip by MC Beaton, the first in the Hamish MacBeth series. How have I not found these before? I love it so far--everything I look for in a British murder mystery is there: quirky characters, class conflict, the idiosyncratic constable. Awesome.

Writing: Yesterday, I did ANOTHER rewrite on my first scene in chapter five. Let me tell you, it's tough to highlight a whole scene, hit delete, and look at the cursor blinking right underneath Chapter Five. But I'm very happy with it now.

Cooking: We're having friends over for dinner tonight, so I think I'll improvise some sort of pasta. I also have egg roll wrappers. I forget what I bought them for, but perhaps an appetizer involving ricotta cheese? If it turns into anything edible, I'll post the recipe.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Hardly Working?

This is my spring working spot, on our porch. Geronimo is "helping", and you can see Mirando watching (well, listening and smelling) the world going by. In a couple of months, it will be too humid and mosquitoe-y to work out here except first thing in the morning, so I'm very much enjoying it right now.

Knitting: More on Heavenly Stole, which is starting to actually look stole-length. It's going to be lovely, but I can't wait to be done with it. The SKC knitalong end date was clarified as the end of May, which gives me tons of time to finish Orangina. My very first sweater took a month of knitting in every spare moment; it's hard to believe I've gotten to the point where two sweaters in two months is no big thing (of course, they are both short- or no-sleeved). One of the best things about knitting is the feeling that I'm constantly improving and mastering new skills.

Writing: Okay, still at 21K. But I've reworked the first scene in chapter five...again. I'm not great at this writing romance stuff (and I'm not even talking sexy stuff, which I don't think I could write without dying of laughter, just two people sitting in a restaurant with mild flirting). I think it's getting better.

Reading: Still on my fluffy novel.

Cooking: String Bean, I usually love making bread! I have no idea what happened this time. I've never tried making Challah before, but sounds like a good project for me :)

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Going and going and going...

I have made progress on the Heavenly Stole. It is now over half done. Of course, the last time I speculated the end might be in sight, it took another 5 weeks for me to pick the Stole back up. But I must finish it before Mother's Day! I am determined. No photo of the Heavenly Stole, since it looks no different from the last photo, except longer.
Instead, here is Geronimo in his kitty bed:

And Mirando on his pile of clean laundry on the guest bed. That's where laundry goes until we fold it and put it away. I have been known to pick Mirando up and set him on a warm pile of laundry fresh from the dryer, where he invariably curls up and goes to sleep. Then I can't possibly disturb him by folding clothes right now :)

Reading: Still on a fluffy book kick.

Writing: Still at 21,000 words, but I've done some revision. I have a sheet of paper with cryptic notes like "ch3-T/C dialogue w/ R." for things to deal with later. I've left my pov character in a restaurant again, but this time she has company, food, and wine. I'll get back to her today. I'm on chapter 5 of probably 12 chapters. I can't believe how much I've written. I sometimes have moments of "I'm doing this all wrong! I should have done an outline!", but overall I feel the story is better without being outlined all in advance. I get to let things develop more naturally instead of forcing relationships or events.

Cooking: Had friends over last night. I made French bread--funny story, the dough was too sticky, so I added flour, then it was too dry, so I added water, and so on, until I ended up with 4 loaves instead of 2. I've never had this kind of difficulty with bread before. I also stuffed mushrooms with spinach-parmesan polenta, made pasta with mushrooms, artichokes, and roasted peppers, and Chocolate Decadence with Mixed-Berry Sauce for dessert. Yum.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Outdoor Blogging

Tim and I were joking about drunken blogging, so I decided to do some outdoor blogging. Less embarrassing, more Vitamin D. Our porch isn't huge, but we have a lake view (also a railroad tracks view, and a highway view, but we like to focus on the lake), and room enough for a table and chairs, and my potted plants. Every spring, we take the tarp off the table and clean the porch for use all summer. The cats love to hang out on the porch, too. We have ducks, ravens, and squirrels that hang out below us. Oh, and around dusk, we have raccoons, too.

Here's the finished Somewhat Cowl:

I like it! The fit is really good, and I love this yarn. It took 5 balls of Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool in Moss, and a bit of a sixth. Really, I just switched to the sixth ball for the last inch of ribbing. Click here for the pattern. I used size 4 and 5 needles, and my gauge was fine. This is a very fun piece to knit, and I love the finished top. I'm still waffling a bit on going back and lengthening the sleeves, since I have so much yarn left. Maybe 3/4 sleeves to make it more versatile--I can only wear short sleeves here for a short summer season. But I like the look in short sleeves. I got my husband to take the picture outside, although I know you guys love the bathroom mirror modeling shots.

Other knitting: Holly got the Baby Beluga Bolero yesterday, and it fit! She made some great suggestions about the fit, so I'll be posting a revised pattern to make the front panels a bit wider. Look for the revisions tomorrow, probably--it's just a bit of math.

On to the Orangina (Natural Cherry Soda for me)! I also *must* finish the Heavenly Stole in time for Mother's Day. I just do not like the Kid Silk Haze, and every time I walk by my knitting bag, I glare at the stole. KSH is definitely noBut it is going to be lovely... Oh, and I cast on for my first Jaywalker. My first sock ever. Rachel, I am a bit concerned about the sock cult recruitment folks (do they go door-to-door?), but I'm hoping they'll wait a bit to see if I become addicted on my own.

Reading: Um, another fluffy book. But after that, Trollope!

Writing: Still in the same spot. Argh.

Cooking: I'm making stuffed mushrooms, pasta, and something chocolatey for friends tomorrow night. Fun! The first outdoor farmer's market of the year was yesterday, and I got...bread. Rumors of asparagus were greatly exaggerated. Ditto for baby beets. But I did get to take my Felted Farmer's Market Bag out for a spin, and it worked really well! And I always enjoy the market, which is huge. There's also comfort in seeing my favorite vendors back again this year. And my herbs are sprouting! My basil just started today, and three of the four other pots have sprouts. Here's the thing: I put the basil in a large rectangular thing, since that's what I use the most of. The other four (cilantro, parsley, bell pepper, and tomato), are all in identical round pots. And I didn't label them before moving them around. So, I have no idea what's growing at this point. Fun! (String Bean, see why I wasn't sure I could handle roses?)

Friday, April 21, 2006

Free Pattern - Baby Beluga Bolero

Hi to the people having trouble with this pattern! Between moving house and tending the baby, I cannot support this pattern right now. At some point, I will revisit it and figure out what the problem is, but there's just no time right now. If you figure it out yourself, please post and I will edit the pattern. Otherwise, I doubt I'll be able to fix it for a month or so. Thank you for understanding!

Click here for photos.

Baby Beluga Bolero
Revised 4/25/06

Materials: Rowan Cashsoft 4-Ply in cream, 2 balls

Size 3 straight or circular needles


Tapestry needle
Button or length of ribbon for closure

Gauge: 7 stitches and 9 rows per inch.

Size: 21 1/2” chest
Note: I’m calling this 6-12 months. I designed it for a six-month-old with an across-back measurement of 9 inches. It has quite a bit of ease. It’s meant to be cropped (7 1/2” instead of 10”). The sleeves are about 8 1/2” long, which is a little longer than average--you may wish to shorten them.

Construction: The back, sleeves, and two halves of the front are knit separately and then seamed together. The collar extension at the back is joined at the sides to the slight collar extension of the two fronts.


Cast on 76 stitches. Knit three rows.
Row 4: k2, [k2tog, yo] to last 2 stitches, k2
Beginning with a knit row, proceed in stockinette stitch for 28 rows (length is about 3 1/2 inches).

Shape armholes: Bind off 4 stitches at the beginning of next two rows. Decrease one stitch at each end of the next and every right-side row a total of four times (60 stitches). Work even until back measures 7 1/4 inches from cast-on row.

Shape shoulders: Bind off 15 stitches at the beginning of next two rows. Knit three rows on remaining 30 stitches. Repeat Row 4. Bind off all stitches.

Left Front (Read all instructions before you begin!):

Cast on 22 stitches. Knit three rows.
Row 4: k2, [k2tog, yo] to last 2, k2
Beginning with a knit row, work in stockinette stitch with garter-eyelet edge:
RS: Knit to last 3 stitches, yo, k3
WS: Purl to last 3 stitches, m1, k3
Work these two rows 7 more times (38 stitches)
Decrease for neckline:
RS: Knit to last 6 stitches, k2tog, yo, k2tog, k2
WS: Purl to last 4 stitches, k2tog, k2
Work these two rows until 18 stitches remain and length is equal to length of back.
Shoulder shaping: Bind off 15 stitches. Work to end of row. Bind off last 3 stitches.

At the same time:
After 27 stockinette rows (3 1/2 inches), shape armholes:
At the beginning of the next wrong side row, bind off 4 stitches.
Decrease 1 stitch at armhole edge on next 4 right side rows.

Right front:

Cast on 22 stitches. Knit three rows.
Row 4: k2, [k2tog, yo] to last 2, k2
Beginning with a knit row, work in stockinette stitch with garter-eyelet edge:
RS: K3, yo, k to end
WS: K3, purl to end
Work these two rows 8 more times (40 stitches - after armhole decreases)
Decrease for neckline:
RS: k2, k2tog, yo, k2tog, knit to end
WS: k2, k2tog, purl to end.
Work these two rows until 18 stitches remain and length is equal to length of back.
Shoulder shaping: Bind off 15 stitches. Work to end of row. Bind off 3 edging stitches.

At the same time:
After 28 stockinette rows (3 1/2 inches), shape armholes:
At the beginning of the next right side row, bind off 4 stitches.
Decrease 1 stitch at armhole edge on next 4 right side rows.

Sleeves (Make 2):

Cast on 28 stitches. Knit three rows.

Row 4: k1, [k2tog, yo] to last stitch, k1.
Beginning with a knit row, proceed in stockinette stitch. Increase one stitch at either side of 3rd stockinette row, then every fourth row to 7 1/2 inches (60 stitches).

Sleeve cap: Bind off 4 stitches at the beginning of next two rows. Decrease one stitch at each end of the next 8 rows (36 stitches). Bind off all stitches.


Using a length of working yarn and a tapestry needle, join shoulder seams and sides of edging. Set in sleeve and sew seam, easing to fit (I recommend pinning into place). Sew sleeve and side seams. Weave in all ends. Lightly block with warm iron with steam. Cut a length of ribbon (8-12” long). Thread through eyelets at points and tie a bow. Trim ends (do not trim too short or you won’t be able to re-tie!). Alternately, sew a button onto one of the points; use the eyelet hole opposite as a buttonhole.

Baby Beluga Bolero Pattern Copyright 2006, Allison Campbell. Please feel free to knit this pattern for the babies in your life, and to share it with friends. If you would like permission to reproduce this pattern for commercial use, contact me. Feel free to link to this page, but DO NOT copy and paste this pattern, or upload any photos, to your own, or any other, website or other media without prior permission. Please contact me if you notice any errors. Enjoy!

Baby Beluga!

I'm back! And the Baby Beluga Bolero is all done, and in the mail. I ended up tying it with a ribbon because I didn't have a button I liked. I'll type up the pattern, probably today. But I might wait to post it until I hear if it fits Lily :) I think it took about 8 hours of knitting, but more total because of the designing. Lots of math. Overall, I'm happy with it. I'm still conflicted over whether I should have picked up and knit the edging instead of incorporating it. The edges rolled a bit, but were easily straightened with a warm iron.

And that's Geronimo, playing with a kitty toy I made! Back when I was making Booga Bags for last Christmas, I thought it would be neat to have a pocket in them, so I felted a square, but quickly realized I had no interest in sewing it on. It's been floating around the apartment ever since, occasionally batted at by the cats. I cut it into two pieces and sewed one into a rectangle and the other into a triangle, stuffed with catnip and spare yarn. I left a long "tail" when sewing it on, and they seem to enjoy them. Noro for kitties!

Other knitting: Back to Somewhat Cowl, which has gotten somewhat longer (pause for laughter). I hope to have it finished by the end of the weekend.

Reading: Just finishing a fluffy book and deciding what's next. Trollope, maybe.

Writing: Not a whole lot of progress this week. Still on chapter 5, still with some revision to be done.

Cooking: I'm cooking tonight, maybe stuffed mushrooms. And the outdoor farmer's market starts tomorrow!

Edited to add: Marie, Mirando was about 8 pounds when we brought him home. He got up to 16.5 pounds, and is now settled at 15 pounds. Geronimo was about 12 pounds when we brought him home. He got up to 18.3 pounds, and is now at 16. We learned that our cats can't free-feed :)

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


In case you didn't get enough yesterday, here are more kitty pictures. These are from when we first brought them home. They were supposedly full grown and about 2 years old. But they grew. A lot. People are perplexed when we call Mirando "Little Guy" but he really WAS a small cat. You can also see how in early photos his coloration is only at his points. So, here you go. Humans included for scale.

Knitting: My friend Holly asked me to make a cardigan for her daughter Lily (my husband's god-daughter) for her six-month picture next week. What a fun challenge! I don't have One Skein yet, so I'm making up a baby bolero as I go along, using Rowan Cashsoft 4-Ply leftover from her christening shawl, and a yarn over pattern as an accent. I got the back almost up to the armholes done last night. I'll post progress photos tomorrow. All other knitting is on hold :) Every time I hear the phrase "Baby Bolero", I think "Baby Beluga", and the yarn is a cream color, so I'm calling this Baby Beluga Bolero and will post the pattern if it turns out well.

Reading: I finished Gish Jen's The Love Wife last night. It was a wonderful book. I also highly recommend her novels Mona in the Promised Land and Typical American. The premise of The Love Wife is the marriage of Carnegie to Janie Bailey, a woman his Chinese-born mother calls Blondie. They have two adopted daughters and one late-life-surprise son. Mama Wong's dying wish is for Lan, a distant relative of Carnegie's, to come help raise the children so they will be more Chinese. Blondie is convinced that Mama Wong intends Lan as the wife she'd really wanted for Carnegie. Lan, a survivor of the Cultural Revolution, struggles with her nostalgic love of China and all things Chinese versus the opportunity of America. The daughters struggle with their own identities as adopted children, and Carnegie's relationship with Mama Wong only becomes more conflicted with her death. What does it mean to be adopted? What does it mean to be Chinese, or American? What does it mean to be a Bailey, or a Wong, or both?

Writing: Still on chapter 5. About 21,000 words.

Cooking: Last night, I made Winter Squash Stew with Pinto Beans and Corn from Cooking Light. I tinkered with a few things, but it was wonderful. I planned to make rice to go with it, but you don't want to know what was in the rice, which once we get a new bag will be kept in the most airtight container ever invented. Ew. Anyway, I already had sauteed onion, bell pepper, carrot, and celery in the pot with the four cups of water needed for the rice when we discovered the rice was unusable, so I chucked in 3/4 cup of barley instead. It turned out quite well and was a nice match for the Squash Stew.

Monday, April 17, 2006


No, we're not celebrating Easter Monday, but rather our cats' birthdays today. We don't actually know when Mirando and Geronimo were born, so we celebrate Kitty Day on the anniversary of the day we adopted them. They will split a can of tuna later today :) Here are some pictures of the boys' early days with us. Blogger felt the number I wanted to upload was unreasonable, and stopped me at three. There will probably be more this week...

Knitting: Finished the sleeves on Somewhat Cowl. I just have to add length so it's not a crop-top.

Reading: Nearly finished with The Love Wife. It's a really good book so far, and I can't wait to see how it ends. I have a couple hours left on the Dark Tort audio book, too. I like Diane Mott Davidson, but there are things I skim over when I read her books in print that are a bit grating in an audio book. Like, do I have to hear about a character's "mop of straw-colored hair" EVERY TIME he shows up? And "golden strands"--just say "grated cheese". And espresso DOES NOT "twine" into the cups. And people ask stuff "querulously" all the darn time. Argh.

Writing: Still at the same spot. I hope to finish the first scene of chapter five today. I'm trying to be very conscious of avoiding the sorts of irritants I talked about above :)

Cooking: Nothing new. Need a trip to the store.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Coffee and post

So, here's the Somewhat Cowl. I couldn't wait to finish the whole thing before doing the collar. The collar took longer/more yardage than I thought, but I'm very happy with how it turned out. The only change I made was that instead of binding off and sewing the edge to the pick-up edge, I sewed the live stitches to the pick-up edge. I'm lazy that way. But it went very well, no puckering or anything. I may do the sleeves today before going on to the rest of the body. I really like this pattern. I'm enjoying how free of stitch counts it is. Instead of increasing until x number of stitches, you increase until your raglan seam is the appropriate length. And Wendy notes in the pick-up-and-knit sections that your goal is to pick up and knit the number of stitches that will look right (and is divisible by four). I picked up 188 around the collar, 8 more than called for, but there are no holes or puckering.

Reading: The Love Wife. Past halfway through. I've also been listening to Dark Tort by Diane Mott Davidson. This is the first audiobook I've tried where I haven't already read the book, and it's easier than I thought. I'm enjoying the story.

Writing: Same.

Cooking: Not a thing!

Tim, that's what I'm leaning toward as well--linking to posts in my sidebar that take you to the full list of recipes or knitting. I've done a bit of reorganization and moved the archives and recent posts down, and taken out the detail on the knitting. But I expect I'll need to work on it further.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Something Old, Something New

No, no one's getting married. I picked that phrase as my title in honor of turning "something old" (mismatched bracelets hanging out in a drawer) into "something new" (cute bracelet bags). Here are a couple of views of each.

I'm very pleased with how these turned out, although there will be no close-ups of my sewing, of which little good can be said except that the bracelets did end up attached to the bag. I'm a little concerned that the sewing thread won't hold up to tugging the bags on and off my wrist, but it's not really a big deal to sew them back on. Quick, fun knit, adorable and practical product, use of stash felting and novelty yarns--what's not to like? Click here to make your very own.

Other knitting: Progress on the Somewhat Cowl! I've done a few inches in the round now. I tried it on after the join, and I'm happy with the fit. I may not be able to wait till the body is done to add the sleeves and cowl. Photos tomorrow. My little knitting goal for myself is to have the Somewhat Cowl, Orangina, and the Heavenly Stole all finished by May 15, with the Heavenly Stole finished in time for Mother's Day. I think that's do-able, though I really should wait to cast on for Jaywalkers. Yes, those are socks, which I've never had the slightest interest in making. But I had a gift certificate for a store that carries Lorna's Laces that just about covered two skeins, and they happened to have Tahoe in stock. And sock people get so enthusiastic about knitting socks that I thought I should give it a try. I'm not bending on my no-dishcloth policy, though.

Reading: Still on The Love Wife by Gish Jen.

Writing: Same place. 20,500...early in chapter 5. Ooh, though I had a really fun idea for a scene yesterday.

Cooking: I'm making some sort of dessert for a party tonight. It will have cocoa in, but other than that, I'm not sure yet.

Edited to add: My 2006 finished object list is getting kind of unwieldy, and it's only April. I wonder if I need to start a post with all the links instead of listing them all on the sidebar, then link to the FO post on the sidebar instead? Or just list the names of the projects and edit the posts to include the yarn info and pattern source?

Friday, April 14, 2006

April showers...again

I'm not sure any photo can convey how massive Geronimo is, but note that here he takes up more than one couch cushion:

Mirando loves to sleep propped up on things; piles of laundry, pillows, people's legs...

Knitting: I felted the black version of the bracelet bag yesterday. These bags are so cute. Everyone I know is getting one of these for their birthday. I will probably attach bangles to both bags this weekend. Still going on Somewhat Cowl. Every time I measure the raglan seam, it's different. Yesterday, I measured it and it was 10", which means I'm almost done, but after I'd done two rows I measured it again and it was 9.25". Huh? I think I'm going for something between 10.25" and 11". So, I'm either practically there or I have over an inch. We'll see what the tape measure says today. I'm trying to measure without stretching, but it's difficult with the sweater bunched up on the circs. And when I hold it up to me where I think the raglan seam goes, it seems quite long already. Maybe I need to move it to scrap yarn or a longer needle to get an accurate measure. Also, I don't think I have size 4 dpns, which I should have for the sleeve ribbing. Oops. Knowing me, I'll just do them with the 5s and hope for the best.

Thank you for your kind comments on the scarf! If you do decide to make it, send me a link to your FO and I will add it to the pattern post.

In the ongoing quest for a Picovoli with sleeves, I have another link to add today :) Click here for help from Grumperina.

Reading: The Love Wife by Gish Jen. So good.

Writing: Started chapter 5! I'm only at about 20,500, so no huge amount of progress. I'm still going back for revision as well.

Cooking: I made Cinnamon Raisin Bread in the bread machine yesterday. I made it with half whole wheat flour, and I don't think my husband even noticed. Maybe next time I can sneak some flax in there, too.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Techniques for Hint of Spring Scarf

I'm not normally one to do tutorials--there are others who do it far better than I. But there are a couple of things that might give you pause in the daisy pattern, so I took some action shots.

Yarn Over Twice:

With the yarn already in front, bring the yarn clockwise over the right needle and back under it to form a second loop on the right needle.

Yarn Over Twice - Wrong Side:

When you reach the two loops on the wrong side (Row 2), it will look like this. Insert your needle into the rightmost loop to knit as usual.

Do not pull the second loop off the needle.

Insert your right needle into the back leg of the loop and knit.

Voila! Continue knitting as directed in the pattern.

Free Pattern - Hint of Spring Scarf

A friend gave me two skeins of this yarn, and the lovely lavender just cried out to be made into a spring scarf. Spring in Wisconsin means warm days, but cool evenings. I decided to make the scarf quite narrow to make it more versatile--just wrap it two or three times around your neck for extra warmth. The design is meant to invoke baskets of daisies. I adapted the daisy stitch pattern from Vogue Knitting. The daisy pattern is 10 rows, and the basketweave 8 to give variation.

Hint of Spring Scarf

Rowan Summer Tweed in #525 - Blueberry, two skeins
Yarn info: 70% silk, 30% cotton; 108m/116yd per skein

Size 8 knitting needles
Tapestry needles (for weaving in ends)

Gauge: About 5 stitches per inch in stockinette.

Finished Dimensions: 4" wide, 72" long

Basketweave pattern:

Row 1: k5, p5, k5, p5
Row 2: p5, k5, p5, k5
Repeat these two rows 3 more times (8 rows total)
Row 9: p5, k5, p5, k5
Row 10: k5, p5, k5, p5
Repeat these two rows 3 more times (8 rows total)

Repeat these 16 rows, replacing the center 10 stitches with the Daisy Pattern after the first 8 rows, and up until the last 8 rows. The basketweave pattern forms the 5 stitches at either edge of the entire scarf. The first 8 and last 8 rows will be in basketweave pattern all the way across.

Daisy pattern:

Row 1: k3, k2tog, yo twice, ssk, k3
Row 2: p3, k2, k1tbl, k1, p3
Row 3: k1, k2tog, yo twice, ssk, k2tog, yo twice, ssk, k1
Row 4: p3, k1tbl, k3, p3
Repeat Rows 1-4 once more, then Rows 1-2. Daisy pattern is a total of 10 rows.

Click here for illustrations.


Cast on 20 stitches. Work rows 1-8 of the basketweave pattern. Maintaining the basketweave pattern over the 5 stitches at either edge of the scarf, work 10 rows stockinette, then the 10 rows of the daisy pattern. Continue in this manner until the scarf is desired length. End with rows 1-8 or 9-16 of the basketweave pattern, as appropriate. Bind off. Weave in ends. Lightly steam block, if needed.

Hint of Spring Scarf Pattern Copyright 2006, Allison Campbell. Please feel free to knit this pattern for yourself or someone you love, and to share it with friends. If you would like permission to reproduce this pattern for commercial use, contact me. Feel free to link to this page, but DO NOT copy and paste this pattern, or upload any photos, to your own, or any other, website or printed matter without prior permission. Please contact me if you notice any errors. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

It's all about the routine

Yesterday, our routine stopped for a few minutes. The cabinet under the sink, where all our Tupperware lives, had been subject to a leak. We only noticed because that's where the watering can lives, and I wanted to plant my herbs on the porch. When we dug it out, it was already full of water. Handy. So were several other things. So we cleaned out the whole thing, and the nice maintenance guy for our apartment building came and fixed it. This is how the cats reacted:

Geronimo hides under the covers. Change=evil. When we have social visitors, he will generally check them out and sometimes stay out with people. Unless it's a large group, or a noisy one--then he disappears.

Mirando keeps his distance, but really isn't too thrown by it. If anything, he's intrigued by the sounds coming from the kitchen. He's a friendly guy with social visitors.

Here's something new:

You'll notice that on the sidebar, under Free Patterns, I have two things listed as Coming Soon. This is only really true for the Hint of Spring Scarf. The Indian Summer Shawl is still in the concept stages, and should really be labeled Coming Eventually - Don't Hold Your Breath. I'm a couple of feet into the Hint of Spring Scarf, which was inspired by the two skeins of Rowan Summer Tweed (one shown above, wound into a wonky-looking ball) that a friend gave me. I really love this yarn. I did lots of swatching, and settled on a design I'll share when I have finished object photos. Sometimes, I'm perplexed by scarf "patterns": "Cast on 20 stitches. Knit to desired length." Right. But, I think I came up with a cute look that other people might enjoy. Look for the new pattern sometime this week.

Other knitting: I found my black Lamb's Pride Bulky, so I will start the replacement bracelet bag soon. A few rows on Somewhat Cowl. But mostly, playing with my new scarf :)

Reading: The Love Wife by Gish Jen. I wonder if I should put a books section on my sidebar. Hmmm.

Writing: Still revising. I might start chapter 5 today, anyway.

Cooking: With pasta and pizza leftovers, there was no cooking last night. Tonight, I think I will make Stuffed Peppers A La Kate. Something I haven't done in ages is bake cookies, and I think I'll do that sometime this week--before it gets too hot to have the oven on! Oh, and I'm planting today. (It was warm enough last weekend, but I didn't have seeds yet.) I'm planting a big pot of basil, some cilantro and parsley, and NEW THIS YEAR!, random mixed flowers, peppers, and tomatoes. When I was a child in Southern California, we had a big backyard, and a corner of it was the garden my dad and I planted every year. Corn, tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, squash during the summer, and pumpkins in the fall. And apple, almond, orange, lemon, and pistachio trees. And grape vines. We had an above-ground pool, right by the grape vines, so we could reach out and eat warm grapes in the pool. Er-a bit of a tangent, there. Anyway, I thought a pot each of peppers and tomatoes was worth trying on my little porch in Wisconsin. There's nothing like fruits and vegetables you grew by yourself, just picked and warm from the sun. Yum.

Monday, April 10, 2006


So, here is the felted bracelet handbag (bracelets not yet attached) in white *feltable* wool. It goes really well with my strappy sandals.

Other Knitting: Another inch to go on the raglan increases on Somewhat Cowl.

Reading: Still on The Love Wife.

Writing: I have a couple of days of revision, then onto chapter 5!

Cooking: Last night, we made pizza and watched the Cubs game. I make the dough recipe below, which makes enough for two crusts. I top mine with weird veggie combinations, and my husband tops his with pizza sauce, mozzarella, and pepperoni. Double the baba ghanosh recipe (but don't double the parsley) and save half to eat with pita or raw veggies later. Double the spinach recipe (but don't double the oil) and have an addictive veggie side dish. I came up with this pizza before, not after, imbibing the Foofy Citrus Cocktail, just to clear things up :) The Foofy Citrus Cocktail was inspired by the half a lemon left from the baba ghanosh and a can of cherry 7UP Plus in the fridge.

Foofy Citrus Cocktail

1 1/2 oz. vodka (or rum)
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Juice of one orange
1 can 7-up plus, Cherry (or any other flavor)

Fill a large glass with ice. Add all ingredients and stir well. Top with umbrella and fruit, if desired.

So Many Veggies Pizza

Dough (for two crusts):

1 1/3 cups warm water
1/2 cup skim milk
2 TBL honey
2 TBL olive oil
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp active dry yeast
1 TBL Italian seasoning (optional)

Baba Ghanosh:

1 large eggplant
1 clove garlic, peeled
2 TBL tahini
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 TBL parsley (optional)
1/4 tsp salt


1 TBL olive oil
1 small onion, thinly sliced
6 oz. spinach, washed
salt and pepper to taste


1 TBL cornmeal or semolina flour
6 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
10 oil-cured black olives, pitted and sliced
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced

1. Make the dough. If using a bread machine, place wet, then dry ingredients in bowl. Prepare using the dough setting. If not, place first three ingredients in a large bowl; sprinkle with yeast. Let sit five minutes. Add remaining ingredients. Knead until smooth, adding additional flour if needed to prevent dough sticking to hands. Place in a lightly oiled bowl and let rise, covered, one hour in a warm, draft-free place (or until doubled in size). Punch dough down. Divide into two balls. (This recipe uses only one ball.) Roll out into a circle on a lightly floured surface.

2. Make the baba ghanosh. Preheat the broiler. Place eggplant on a baking sheet lined with foil. Cook 15 minutes, or until skin is blackened. Turn over and cook another 15 minutes. Let sit until cool enough to handle. Trim ends and peel off charred skin. With the motor of a food processor running, drop in garlic to mince. Add peeled eggplant and remaining ingredients; process until smooth.

3. Prepare the spinach. Heat 1 TBL olive oil over medium-high heat in a skillet. Add onion and cook until it begins to brown slightly. Lower heat to medium; cook until translucent. Add spinach, stirring until spinach wilts. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

4. Preheat pizza stone in 425-degree oven. (Alternatively, you can pat into a large jelly roll pan or baking sheet.) Sprinkle with cornmeal; arrange pizza crust on stone and crimp edges. Top with baba ghanosh, then spinach, then cheese, olives, and garlic. Bake at 425 degrees 12-15 minutes, or until crust is golden brown. Cut into 8 wedges and serve hot.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Building Character

I learned something really interesting the other day, when attempting to felt my bracelet purse. Debbie Bliss Merino Aran is superwash wool. I figured this out after one trip through the washing machine, when it looked the same as it had going in, only wet. I looked at the label again; no large print proclaiming "machine washable" or anything. Then I noticed a little geometric shape, on the inside of the band, that I suppose was meant to be a washing machine. Argh. So much for that. At least it was small. So I made another little bag with white Brown Sheep and KFI Athena, and I think it'll be cute and springy. I still want to make a black bag, but I have to dig out the yarn. Hey, you guys weren't not telling me about the Debbie Bliss for your own entertainment purposes, were you? 'Cause that's just mean :)

We cycle the boys' toys in and out every one to two weeks so they don't get bored. But one toy variety is always out. These are Mirando's "half-a-balls". They started out as whole balls, formed by two halves that snapped together, with catnip toys and bells we could put inside. But every time we put them together, he would take them apart again. He likes to carry one into the bathtub and play hockey with it, and he sometimes carries one up onto the bed when he comes to sleep with us. We think he's afraid he'll get bored. Anyway, I have never before managed to get a photo of him carrying a half a ball in his mouth, until now:

Geronimo, looking goofy in the sunlight:

Other knitting: A bit further on Somewhat Cowl. I like this pattern so far. There's been discussion of the sweater being too baggy unless the raglan seam is shortened. I haven't decided what to do about that yet. I think I'll try it on and decide whether to go with the original 11" called for or the 10.25" recommended for a snug fit.

Edited to add: Someone just posted a Picovoli with sleeves here. She doesn't seem to have her own blog, but I posted a comment asking if she'd mind sharing how she did it.

Reading: I finished Winter of Discontent. It was really not Dams' best book. I started The Love Wife by Gish Jen. I really like Gish Jen, but I've just barely started this one. There are a lot of point-of-views, which I'm finding distracting, but I think I'll get used to them.

Writing: Chapter 4 is done! 20,000 words. That means I'm about 1/3 of the way through. I have some revising to do, which will probably be tomorrow, then it's on to chapter 5.

Cooking: I made roasted red pepper-eggplant sauce for pasta last night. It was good, but the eggplant was chewy. Needs more experimentation.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Free Pattern - Farmer's Market Bag

Photos and commentary on the bag are here and here. If you have any questions or suggestions, or would like the pattern sent to you in a .pdf, leave a comment for me.

Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Bulky
3 skeins M-145 (Spice) - A, 1 skein each M-185 (Aubergine) - B, M-97 (Rust) - C, M-16 (Seafoam) - D

Size 11 24-29” circular needle, size 11 double-pointed needles (set of 5)

Stitch marker, tapestry needle

Size: 15” long, 3.75” wide, 11” high (after felting)
18” long, 4” wide, 16” high (before felting)


Cast on 13 stitches. Knit 2 rows in A, then 2 rows in B. Repeat these four rows 28 times more. End with 2 rows in A. Bind off all stitches.


With RS facing, pick up and knit 12 stitches from short side, 58 stitches from long side, 12 stitches from short side, and 58 stitches from long side. Place marker and join for working in the round (140 stitches). Work color pattern twice, using Motif 1 for the first repeat and Motif 2 for the second repeat. End with 8 rows in A.

Color Pattern:

8 rows - A
4 rows - B
2 rows - A
1 row - C
Work the 9 rows of Motif 1 or 2
1 row - C
2 rows - A
4 rows - B

Motif 1:

Row 1: *k1 (D), k3 (C); repeat to end of row
Row 2: *k1 (C), k1 (D); repeat to last stitch
Row 3: Repeat Row 1.
Row 4: Knit all stitches in C.
Row 5: Knit all stitches in D.
Row 6: Knit all stitches in C.
Row 7-9: Repeat Rows 1-3.

Motif 2:

Row 1: Knit all stitches in C.
Row 2: k3 (C), k1 (D), k3 (C); repeat to end of row.
Row 3: k2 (C), k1 (D), k1 (C), k1 (D), k2 (C); repeat to end of row.
Row 4: k1 (C), k1 (D), k3 (C), k1 (D); repeat to end of row.
Row 5: k1 (D), k5 (C), k1 (D); repeat to end of row.
Row 6: Repeat Row 4.
Row 7: Repeat Row 3.
Row 8: Repeat Row 2.
Row 9: Knit all stitches in C.

Prepare for straps:

Bind off 12 stitches, k13 and move to a dpn, bind off 32 stitches, k13 and move to a dpn, bind off 12 stitches, k13 and move to a dpn, bind off 32 stitches, k13 and move to a dpn.

Knit straps:

With A, knit the 13 stitches from one dpn back and forth using the fifth dpn until strap measures 18”. Using the three-needle bind-off, join these 13 stitches to the 13 stitches on the dpn on the same side, being careful not to twist. Repeat with the other two dpns.

Knit pockets:

Pouch for fragile items: With A, cast on 26 stitches. Knit back and forth until there are 26 garter ridges. Bind off all stitches. With circular needle, pick up and knit 24 stitches along one side, 25 stitches along the bottom, and 25 stitches along the other side. Knit back and forth for two inches. Bind off all stitches.

Cell phone pocket: With C, cast on 13 stitches. Knit back and forth until there are 13 garter ridges. Bind off all stitches.

Key pocket: With A, cast on 13 stitches. Knit back and forth until there are 10 garter ridges. Bind off all stitches.

Wallet pocket: With C, cast on 20 stitches. Knit back and forth until there are 13 garter stitches. Bind off all stitches.

Finishing: Weave in ends. Felt bag and pockets to desired size. Block bag to desired shape and let dry. Using a tapestry needle and appropriate color, secure pockets to inside of bag.


1. For a taller bag, work another repeat of the color pattern, using Motif 1 again. You may need additional yarn. If you do this, I recommend getting an extra skein of Spice and working the base in Spice only (no stripes), so you have enough Aubergine for the additional repeat.

2. Work additional or different-sized pockets as desired. I chose these to hold the items I like to have with me at the market; your needs may vary.

3. Work pockets in any color you’d like. Add colorwork or stripes for added fun.

4. Felting: There is a very nice tutorial on felting here. There are many opinions on how to do this properly, and for every person who says “Never felt with old towels,” there’s one who says “Always felt with old towels.” This is what I do (felting purists, stop reading now): I put the item in an old pillowcase and tie it shut and chuck it in the washing machine with a pair of old jeans and a little detergent. I run it through the entire washing cycle on hot, then check. It usually takes me three cycles for the desired result. My felting method was inspired by the stacking washer/dryer in my apartment that doesn't have particularly hot water or fancy features like skipping the spin cycle or whatever. Your preferences and washing machine may vary. The best bet is to do a swatch and try it out in your own washing machine and adjust as needed.

5. Be sure to strand loosely when working motifs. The strands will shrink quite a bit when felting, and if you’ve pulled them too tight, the bag will pucker.

Farmer's Market Bag Pattern Copyright 2006, Allison Campbell. Please feel free to knit this pattern for yourself or someone you love, and to share it with friends. If you would like permission to reproduce this pattern for commercial use, contact me. Feel free to link to this page, but DO NOT copy and paste this pattern, or upload any photos, to your own, or any other, website or printed matter without prior permission. Please contact me if you notice any errors. Enjoy!

April showers, and all that

I'm trying to get a bit more consistent in posting progress photos, really I am. So, here's the bracelet bag, pre-felting:

I like the color combination. I cast on a couple more stitches, adding a couple increase/decrease rows, and lengthened the body since I'm using a heavy worsted yarn rather than the bulky called for. So we'll see what happens. I still need to dig up bangles.

And here is the Somewhat Cowl, with a close-up of the raglan seaming. The color is truer in the larger view.

I like to show some details in my knitting photos, because when I look at other knitting blogs, I'm often squinting at photos of the final product, wondering how the seams came together, or what the lace pattern looks like up close. If anyone has suggestions about details to show, please comment. It just takes a minute for me to take a picture and upload it.

I realized I missed Lee's question about Picovoli--could you add cap sleeves? My answer is "Sure, why not?" because that tends to be my approach to knitting in general. But I do think it would be quite easy. I'm having trouble picturing exactly how with a top-down construction, though. White Lies Designs has a great addendum to their Shapely Tank (free pattern) that adds sleeves right here, although it's for a pattern knit flat and seamed. If you're more adept than I am at converting patterns for knitting in the round, it's probably really obvious to you!

I'm nearly done with the Farmer's Market Bag pattern. You'll notice a spot in the sidebar just waiting for the link. Since I can't upload a .pdf directly to blogger, I will probably write it up as a post. I can e-mail the pattern in .pdf to anyone interested, though. I'm trying to work out how to do a color chart right now. Although, it's two very simple patterns, so I might try just writing out the instructions.

Tim, I do just add recipe/pattern/photo links to the template when I add something I want in the sidebar "categories". Since blogger doesn't do indexing, this manual method seemed a good alternative. It's not the most elegant, but it at least makes things more accessible.

Reading: Almost through with Winter of Discontent. Still disappointed. Not only is the mystery dragging on and on with this obscure WWII history that I still can't believe the heroine latched onto as a motive for murder, but Dorothy hasn't worn any interesting hats in 200 pages.

Writing: Over 18,000 words. Is today the day to end chapter 4? I sure hope so :)

Cooking: Yeah, I didn't do anything interesting for dinner last night. Pasta tonight. That, or highly experimental butternut squash dish. I'm making hummus and baba ghanosh today, and I will try to actually write down what I put in.

Thursday, April 06, 2006


I've done a little spring cleaning on the blog, so the sidebar has some new features. I've indexed the recipes in my posts, and I've also added links to my finished object posts in the Finished Objects 2006 section. I still have links to the pattern source, but I noticed that when I click on similar links on other people's blogs, I want to see a photo of *their* knitting, not just get sent to the pattern. So, there you go. Let me know if anything isn't working.

Knitting: Finished knitting the cute little bangle purse from Crazy Aunt Purl. I'll felt tonight, and then I have to find bangles. I had about a million of them in the late '80s, and I'm sure I have some around here. This is a great instant gratification project. The knitting took maybe an hour and a half, and that was after two beers, so I was not in peak knitting form. I'm using Debbie Bliss Merino Aran in charcoal held together with KFI Dazzle in greens, blues, and purples (from the bag left from my ill-advised flirtation with ladder yarn). You get a picture of the boys today since there are no interesting knitting pictures, and we're nearly out of "snuggling season".

Reading: I started Winter of Discontent by Jeanne Dams. It's her ninth Dorothy Martin mystery. It's a little disappointing, but I still enjoy the characters and the quaint village. The first annoyance (not Dams' fault) was that the jacket cover mentions that Bill goes missing and is found dead. So for the first 6 chapters of Bill being missing, there's zero suspense. The other annoyance is that Dorothy, out of the blue, decides that since Bill was a POW during WWII, his disappearance must have something to do with that. What??? That was 60 years ago, and surely he's had developments in his life since then that might make for a more plausible theory. Anyway...

Writing: Almost 18,000 words! I'm on the last scene of chapter 4. Did you hear that, Tim? Chapter 4 tomorrow!

Cooking: Nothing of note. I'll cook tonight, though I'm not sure what yet :)

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

And another!

I finished Picovoli last night. What a fun, quick knit, and such a cute top! The only change I made was to add short rows (12 wrapped stitches each side; excellent tutorial here. In retrospect, I would have lengthened it, and now I'm really interested in figuring out a v-neck version. Grumperina's wonderful pattern is here. Here it is:

I would like to point out to String Bean that Picovoli took me considerably more than two days :) I cast on March 25, which by my count is 11 days. Thank you to everyone who commented on the Farmer's Market Bag! I am writing up the pattern from my cocktail napkin notes and will put it up by next week. I do think it's an easy way to ease yourself into stranded colorwork, and the bag is so functional. Marie, my experience with felted bags is that they hold up quite well. The felting makes a denser, stronger fabric than regular knitted fabric. And if it starts to warp out of shape, you can just gently felt and block again to bring it back to its original shape. You could also add a stiff plastic rectangle to the bottom if you were really concerned. Now I just have the Somewhat Cowl, Orangina, and the Heavenly Stole on the needles. But first, I have to make one of these. How cute is that? And I've been kicking around the idea of making a little drawstring-based purse for going out, with some Debbie Bliss Merino Aran in Charcoal held together with sparkly ladder yarn (you know, it seemed like a good idea at the time).

Reading: I finished Bloodsucking Fiends by Christopher Moore, and like all his books, I recommend it. Fun, crazy, and wildly improbable, yet witty and well-written. Up next: Not sure yet. The next book club book is The Love Wife by Gish Jen, but I still have some time.

Writing: 17,000 words. At last, progress. (At first, I typed 17,000 pages--wouldn't that be great?)

Cooking: I do have some fun, interesting, and unstructured dinners planned, and the apartment is full of groceries again. I'll be making some standards like baba ghanosh and hummus to go with pita and raw veggies for lunch, and I have at least one interesting pasta dish planned. I'll post recipes as they turn out well :)

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

May I Present...

the Farmer's Market Bag! I think I would add another repeat of the striping pattern, as this ended up only 11 inches high. It shrunk much more lengthwise than my gauge swatch led me to expect. Not sure why. I used up the rest of my yarn (except the seafoam, of which I still have most of a skein) on pockets. I made a pouch for mushrooms and other squashables (I was really pleased with my cleverness in making a pocket that would give enough depth), and pockets for keys, wallet, and cell phone. I played with the idea of adding a divider, but decided against it. Geronimo inspected it and found it lacking in catnip or tuna, and Mirando declined to comment. Overall, I'm pleased. It will be nice and fuctional, and the straps are the exact length I want.

Other knitting: Could there be photos of Picovoli all finished tomorrow? There just might be!

Writing: Argh. Same place. I hope Chapter 4 is some sort of turning point, and future chapters will be easier to write.

Reading: Almost done with Bloodsucking Fiends.

Cooking: None, due to desperate need for grocery shopping.